Iowa Writes


        Paul was about to make a total ass of himself, which is why The Wife of The Deceased laid a hand on him.

        "I'm so glad you're here, Paul," she said.

        Paul nodded.

        He was unable to stand with The Wife of The Deceased having laid a hand on him, but he kept his eyes on the empty lectern at the front of the room. I'm sure, in the silence, he was fingering the folded pages of that dreaded eulogy in his pocket.

        Paul began, "I'd like to—" when The Wife of The Deceased laid another hand on him.

        "His medals, Paul," she said. "He won't stay in the ground without them."

        From behind, a hand found Paul's back.

        "Someone should go get them."

        "To leave those medals behind . . ."

        Two hands on Paul's cheeks. 

        "Can you imagine it, Paul?"

        Hands on hands.



        When we had all laid our hands on Paul, we helped him to the door. We knew very well he would find no medals. He would come back very late, to an empty room.

        I regret nothing.

        Sometimes I see him running to the graveyard, making smart revisions with a golf pencil, only to find us gone from there, too. There, at the mound, a groundskeeper is stuffing flowers into a black plastic bag so he can weed-eat around the mound. Paul begs him to stop.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting


Colin Kostelecky lives in Iowa City.  He digs clean holes.  He makes smooth sidewalk, and, shortly after, bumpy sidewalk.

This page was first displayed
on October 28, 2014

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